Kula Cloth - Sustainability Committment


Kula Cloth was built on the concept of sustainability -- our product started with a dream to reduce the amount of toilet paper left behind in wilderness locations... but that dream would be irrelevant if the manufacturing process to make the Kula Cloth was not sustainable. When we consider sustainability, we consider the following:
  • Why we are making a product
  • What we are making
  • How we are making it
  • Making the lifecycle of the product circular

All of our Kula Cloths are made in family-owned factories in the USA. These factories meet and/or exceed all industry standards for both fair labor practices and best practices in sustainability. In addition, we manufacture and purchase all of our textiles from companies within the United States. Our textiles are produced in facilities that meet or exceed all EPA standards for environmental sustainability. In addition, our fabrics are CPSIA certified and contain no PFAs or PFOAs.  

PFOS and PFOA are commonly used in non-stick and stain/water repellant finishes and some waterproof films and have been known to be toxic and harmful for quite some time now. The most well known ones were ScotchGuard by 3M (using PFOS) and Teflon (C8, using PFOA).

So, what are PFAS? PFAS are Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, these include perfluoro octane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and others. These fluorinated compounds are used in a wide variety of consumer goods including stain resistant upholstery & carpets, nonstick cookware, paints, coatings and many more goods. In the textile world they are used in water-repellent finishes on fabrics. Detailed information is available on the EPA website – https://www.epa.gov/pfas

PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs including the PFOA Stewardship Program  by the EPA in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics. You can read the entire EPA actions at this link – https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epa-actions-address-pfas

Other initiatives that we are working on to increase our sustainability:

  •  Outdoor Accessibility – In 2022, we launched our first item of apparel... the Pyka Pants. This is a hybrid undershort that is available in sizes XS - 5XL. For 2024, we will be launching our first pair of active hiking shorts in size XS - 5XL.  
  •  Kulas for a Cause: We have been donating Kulas to non-profits since the very beginning of Kula Cloth in 2018. Over the past few years, we have donated thousands of Kulas to programs that help folks learn the skills to get outside. In addition, we have used our Kula for a Cause program to raise money for non-profits such as the Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps, The Climbing Coalition, The Washington Trails Association, The Venture Out Project, The Washington's National Parks Fund, Stamina Racing Collective, Dance to be Free, Black Outside, The Cairn Project, Hiking My Feelings, The Bronze Chapter, Project Q, and many more. 
  •  Protecting The Places We Love: We have been a member of the Leave No Trace Partner program since the very start of our business in 2018. Since 2020, we have hosted collaborative programs with Leave No Trace and the US Forest Service and National Park Service to teach hikers about LNT principals and how to stay safe in the backcountry.   
  •  Kula Culture and Events: Through our events programs, we have introduced thousands of community members to educational programs that teach hiking and backpacking skills, art, dancing, and much more. We have adopted the Mountain Loop Highway in Granite Falls, Washington and we coordinate three yearly clean-ups of a long stretch of this beautiful, scenic road.  During 2023, we hosted events at Washington State Parks throughout Western Washington and donated 100% of the profits back to the parks. During each event, we also coordinated stewardship projects to clean up each park.  
  • Carbon footprint - We have measured our carbon footprint and are taking steps at our small warehouse facility to reduce our impact and find ways to work more efficiently and effectively. We are currently in the process of investigating ways to offset our carbon footprint by purchasing trees.
  • Low-Impact Packaging: We have used home compostable packaging since 2020 for the Kula Cloth, and we added an additional line of home compostable packaging for our Kula Pad in 2023.  
  • Product Testing: Product testing and inspection of raw materials, components, and finished goods are conducted at each of our factories. We also have a network of testers and ambassadors who regularly test new products before they are released. It’s important to do this in a variety of environments and conditions and with a variety of users.

We are doing our best -- but there is always room for improvement. As a small, but growing company, we are doing our best to make decisions that are in alignment with the values of Kula Cloth. It is our hope and deepest belief that we can leave the world a little bit better than we found it.